by David Snopek on October 17, 2017 - 4:11pm

In about a month, it'll be 2 years since Drupal 8.0.0 was released. Drupal 8 has come a long way since then, especially with Drupal 8.4.0 released two weeks ago, which is the most feature-packed release yet.

Drupal 8 is the future of Drupal. It's awesome.

However, looking at all the blogs and articles and podcasts in the Drupalsphere, we're sending a message that you should only build new sites on Drupal 8.

The common wisdom is that starting a new project on Drupal 7 is dumb idea.

While I'm sure there's lots of people who are OK with that or even think that's the right message...

I strongly believe that we are hurting the Drupal project by sending that message.

Read more to find out why!

Drupal 8 isn't ready for everyone... and might not be for a while

The root of the problem is that, while Drupal 8 can do so much, it isn't a complete replacement for Drupal 7 yet.

I'm not just talking about features, and what modules are available, and community knowledge/ability, and tooling... Well, actually, I'm talking about all those things together. :-)

What made Drupal 7 (and earlier versions) great, wasn't that core was awesome. In fact, while core was always made of well-written code, it was decidedly UNawesame all on its own.

The magic of Drupal was being able to quickly build an application with loads of features, without needing to write much code.

In fact, with Drupal 7, a site bulider — even one who is incapable of writing code — could create a pretty advanced website (say, a Facebook clone?) just by combining modules (with an FTP client) and clicking their way through the admin screens in Drupal.

In Drupal 8, the bar is currently much higher. Working on a Drupal 8 site today, you'll need to write custom code or help port modules, because the contrib ecosystem is less mature.

But even if all the contrib modules were ported and had stable versions, you're now forced to do things that are good ideas, but previously were totally optional, for example: use composer, maintain a staging site, probably use Git and specialized hosting.

Don't force out the "non-techies"

Should the Drupal community "level up" and learn how to use composer, git, etc? Yeah, that'd be good. :-) But does it really make sense to require that?

Many very successful Drupal users are not developers or even technologists. They're librarians, or volunteers, or scientists, or government employees, etc, who do need the power of Drupal (ie. Wix wouldn't work for them), but don't have the time or incentive to become "real techies."

Traditionally, Drupal democratized the ability to create advanced websites by empowering non-techies.

And they are valuable members of our community! They make many non-code contributions, not the least of which is making sure we create software usable by non-developers. And some do eventually make the leap to being developers, but they probably wouldn't have if the initial bar was too high and they couldn't make the transition gradually.

Let's not force these people out of our community.

There are some issues on looking at ways to eliminate or reduce these barriers. For example, looking at ways for site builders to use composer without having to learn composer. But I don't see those problems being fixed particularly soon.

The software adoption curve

Software goes through a predictable cycle where different groups of people adopt it at different times. At first, it's only picked up by innovators and early adoptors, but eventually it's ready for mainstream usage. A lot happens in the process, and not all of it is related to code or the core product.

Many of the tools and processes that we use day-to-day as Drupalists didn't come from Drupal core, but the ecosystem around it (drush, Features, etc) and shared knowledge and best practices (tens of thousands of hours of experience gained by many different people and groups, and remixed via meetups, Drupalcamps, Drupalcons, blog posts).

Drupal went through this process as it was figuring out what it was, and as the community learned how to build sites with it. I'd say the transition to mainstream happened somewhere between Drupal 4.7 to Drupal 6, and continued to mature with Drupal 7.

While all major Drupal releases up until now made big changes, they were more iterative and much about the way that Drupal worked and how our community used it to build sites remained the same.

Since Drupal 8 is nearly a complete rewrite which shook up much of what we know about developing Drupal sites, I'd argue that Drupal 8 is starting the software adoption curve all over again.

While there are some things that have remained the same, there is a huge amount of new stuff, much of it untested over the long-term. Drupal 8 is ready for innovators and early adoptors, and maybe some people in the middle, but it's not ready for all the same groups of people that can successfully adopt Drupal 7.

We're creating a false choice

By pushing Drupal 8 so hard, we're creating a false choice:

  1. Use Drupal 8 for your new site, or
  2. Wait for when Drupal 8 is capable of supporting you (... and while you're waiting, consider moving to other platforms!)

We do Drupal 6 Long-Term Support, and we've seen many people who loved their Drupal 6 sites move to non-Drupal platforms because they didn't see themselves capable of building a new Drupal 8 site, or paying for someone else to do it, or both.

But Drupal 7 is still awesome and isn't going anywhere any time soon!

Since Drupal 7 is still used by nearly a million or so sites (the majority of Drupal sites) we're going to need to continue to support Drupal 7 for a long time, whether that's in the form of official support from the Drupal project or as a Drupal 7 Long-Term Support effort.

Drupal 6 continues to be with us (via Drupal 6 Long-Term Support) almost 10 years after its initial release!

Honestly, I think Drupal 7 is going to be with us in a real way for another 8-10 years.

So, why not say it's OK to build new sites on Drupal 7?

By not saying it, we're pushing people to other platforms

I mentioned this in the last section, but it's worth reiterating:

When people see Drupal 8 as the only way they should be build new sites, and it doesn't seem to work for them, they begin to consider other platforms.

I really, honestly believe that Drupal 8 will get to a point where it can support the same groups of people (including the non-techies) that Drupal 7 supported.

But to keep those people in our community until we get there, we need to be saying, as a community: "It's OK to build new sites on Drupal 7!"

Ok, I've said my piece. :-)

I'm sure this will be a controversial opinion and that many people will disagree. I look forward to discussing further in the comments below!

Do you agree with my argument? Or think I'm totally wrong? Please leave a comment below!


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I am currently building a new site using Drupal 7 (on OpenAtrium) and I notice that quite a few modules are no longer being maintained for Drupal 7. That is something to consider.

For sure, that is a challenge! If the original maintainers have moved on to Drupal 8 and are no longer interested in maintaining the Drupal 7 version, then new maintainers who are still interested in Drupal 7 will need to be found. However, there is a process for that, and with so many sites still on Drupal 7, I think it should be possible in many cases :-)

Thanks for saying it. I'm a graphics technician who found Drupal 7 to be a reasonably achievable means for creating beautifully designed websites. Along the way, making sites for 20 years, I've also gotten good at HTML and CSS, although just barely dipping my toe in LESS and the like. I am more attracted to pattern design than to module building, and I have to pick my battles, so keeping up in the graphics world won out over learning jquery. I loved what I saw coming for Drupal 8, right up until the moment I was sealed out of the picture by Symfony. I'm one of those not-really-non-technical folks who has been shut out of Drupal 8, and seriously lurking around Backdrop just in case I have to jump ship. But if D7 is still given its due, I can hang here for the duration.

Thank you for raising this. My 2 cents…
I’ve lived more or less the same situation 10 years ago with ActionScript 3 (object oriented) replacing version 2 (procedural). The main audience of Flash was not-too-technical people and the ecosystem didn’t had to wait Apple iPad to loose engagement of the community after AS3, even with the promise of ECMAScript compliance and the adoption by the Apache foundation later.

But… for Drupal I think that’s totally another story because:

- it is open source and quite democratic / do-ocratic from the beginning
- there is a strong community behind that is here to help and Drupal Answers / Stack Overflow are also there (during the Flash years, we didn’t had that chance)
- there are many initiatives to lower the technical adoption barriers of Drupal 8 (code scaffold with Drupal Console, Composer templates, good documentation, …), the adoption of Drupal 8.0 was quite technical regarding Composer and Git, but I find that Drupal 8.4 is totally another story

If we consider the site builder point of view it also depends on the project:

- publishing distributions in Drupal 8 are awesome and the emergence of modern solutions all entity based are easy to understand and follow, it is consistent
- you probably cannot live without good web services in many situations nowadays
- you have way less configuration to have common features like WYSIWYG, Views, … so many modules are in core now, so the time gained here can be “lost” elsewhere to adopt new things
- translation system is clear (did you try to explain the Drupal 7 difference between i18n and entity translation to a non techie)
- for long term support, you will have to consider the effort/time to consent: put in balance the migration from a Drupal 7 to a Drupal 8 or 9 site with learning the technical changes to adopt directly version 8.

So, well, words like dependency injection, Composer, …, should probably be used carefully because they can sound intimidating, but I find that in 8.3 or 8.4, with a good Composer template it is way less complicated to get a module and its libraries than in 7. Should be good to ask others what are the most frustrating aspects of their recent D8 experience based on up-to-date documentation and stable modules.

Respectfully, this blog post should probably have a disclaimer saying "my business is based around providing support for defunct technology" before it recommends people use a platform the active development community is quickly moving on from. This post could just have easily guided people towards deciding if Drupal 8 was right for them and how to overcome some of some of these challenges.

No mention of backdrop whatsoever? No mention of squarespace? Nobody should be fighting to keep users in the Drupalspehere when they are clearly better served by other platforms, Dries acknowledged this in his Vienna keynote and I feel it's something that has been pretty evident for a while now.

My advice: put some energy into learning composer, you'll be better off for it. Using D7 over D8 today feels to me like moving out of your house into a cardboard box because you lost the key to your front door.

Thanks for your comment!

I think you may have misinterpretted the goal and the audience of this post a bit. The audience isn't meant to be the people deciding if they should use Drupal 7 or 8, but the community who are talking about Drupal 7 & 8, and who may be sending the message that it's not OK to use Drupal 7. I'm in no way trying to convince people to choose Drupal 7 over Drupal 8. If Drupal 8 will work for you, it's absolutely the right choice - it's the future!

But here's what I am trying to convince people of:

If right now we're saying (even if it's only implicitly), "you have to stop building new sites on Drupal 7 now and start using Drupal 8 immediately! You'd be an idiot to still use Drupal 7," I'm advocating that instead we start saying (explicitly!), "if you're successful using Drupal 7, and trying Drupal 8 is making it seem like Drupal isn't for you anymore, you can keep using Drupal 7 for now, that's cool, we know this is a problem and we're still trying to fix up Drupal 8 for people like you!"

In the past on our blog, we have talked about how to choose which Drupal version to use, and discussed how SaaS tools can be an option, and how Backdrop is awesome. But the point of this post is to discuss the messaging that we, the community, are using around Drupal 7, which is a pretty narrow focus, and I don't think those things are relevant here.

It may well feel like moving into a cardboard box to you (I'd feel the same if I built a new site in D6 having not done so in years) but D7 is a tool I know extremely well and it meets my needs brilliantly. As your post makes abundantly clear, D8 is a place where many of us are clearly no longer welcome "Nobody should be fighting to keep users in the Drupalspehere when they are clearly better served by other platforms." That platform is not the ones you mention, but D7.
I'm still starting new projects in D7 and will continue to do so unless/until the community decides that those of us in minimally resourced not-for-profits, one-man-bands and the like and who are struggling/failing to make the change to D8 are welcome after all. Very sad when I've invested a decade of my life in learning to use a technology but there we go :(

Tableknock. Solidarity, brother.

Once upon a time: "Invest in Drupal - you'll have a great career."
Later: "These island natives just aren't up to building the enterprise system we need before I can IPO. I know what we'll do - we'll get rid of them and borrow another community. Sound good?" "Yes... but your IPO would never have been on the table without these people -" "LISTEN TO HOW INSULAR YOU SOUND. DON'T WORRY ABOUT THEM. WORRY ABOUT THE BIGGER PICTURE (and my IPO)"

re: we'll get rid of them and borrow another community

Great answer.
I hope those it is meant to understand it. Those that want to get rid of us seam arrogant to me.
But that is the way many nowadays think. If you are not rich you do not belong on this earth. Hopefully they will wake up soon. They already have to live behind fences at many places in the world.

You need to dig in and make building D7 sites feel the same way building a D6 site would feel today. If you don't put the effort into learning Drupal 8 now then in a couple of years time when we're discussing dropping security support for Drupal 7 people who are still building D7 today will be in panic mode. Or, maybe they'll use myDropWizard for security updates and that's the point of this post!

If you don't put the effort into learning Drupal 8 now then in a couple of years time when we're discussing dropping security support for Drupal 7 people who are still building D7 today will be in panic mode.

But I don't think waiting longer to start building D8 sites is going to make building D8 sites harder...

In, say, one year, building a D8 site is going to be easier than building a D8 site is today. In two years, it'll be even easier than it is in one year. At some point it'll reach a critical mass where the ecosystem will mature, the shared knowledge and best practices will be more established, and some of the roadblocks that make life difficult for non-techies (like composer) will be worked around, if say, Drupal core adds a way to install modules via the UI that does composer magically under-the-hood.

Right now is a good time to switch to D8 for some groups of people (the techies!) but not the right time for other groups of people (the non-techie site builders). And, I think if we're explicit and honest about that, that's OK!

What's not OK is leading the non-techie site builders to believe that they have to move from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8 right now, and if it's not working for them, it's their fault and they need to adapt. And if the bar is too high for them to adapt (because maybe they're just a volunteer maintaining the website - not a techie), then, well, Drupal must no longer be for them, so they'd better go find something else.

The real point of this post: I think Drupal 8 can still be for them one day, but it isn't right now, and I think we should "give them permission" to keep doing Drupal 7 until it is.

> The real point of this post: I think Drupal 8 can still be for them one day, but it isn't right now, and I think we should "give them permission" to keep doing Drupal 7 until it is.

I guess this is where we disagree. IMO, if it isn't right today it isn't ever going to be right, if you can't use composer etc then it's probably best to start looking at other available technologies.

Hm, I guess so!

However, if composer is so easy to use and ability to use it is the bar for using Drupal, then why are there already a number of tools designed to make using it easier?

For example:

Those tools also aren't the simplest (they still expose a lot of composer to the user, just with a GUI) but finding tools or processes that are more managable for non-techie site buliders is totally possible. Maybe installing a tool like those but a little simpler and perhaps that knows you're doing Drupal (so you start out with a list of the top Drupal modules to choose from, rather than a blank text box to type a package name to install), is going to be the way that they build Drupal sites? But those tools and processes need a little time to be figured out.

Composer, of course, isn't the only challenge, but I think the others are solvable too.

> The real point of this post: I think Drupal 8 can still be for them one day, but it isn't right now, and I think we should "give them permission" to keep doing Drupal 7 until it is.

Totally agree.

It's not just a matter of digging in though, is it. As we stand today, D7 is one of the "big three" platforms for building websites. It has an order of magnitude more capability than Wordpress or Joomla and is very clearly a framework rather than "just" a CMS but for those who just want something well structured that they can use to put sites together quickly it meets the need brilliantly. I can go to pretty much any shared hosting, buy some space, one click install D7 core and bolt in the modules I need via the UI. There are literally hundreds of thousands of D7 sites out there which have been built that way. I've built loads of them myself and am sure that lots of people reading this thread have done the same. There are also tens of thousands which need something more than that, sat on dedicated hosting, probably with tweaked server environments, installed and maintained with Drush. Again I've done that, but only for a handful of projects (and in my case mostly for performance reasons or to meet CiviCRM requirements rather than specific Drupal requirements.)
A decision was taken somewhere that the former group were of no interest any more and the latter were where it was at. Drupal was no longer for the masses but for enterprises. Bit of a shock for many of us but hey, it's not our call. I was hoping that D8 would evolve and resolve the long-standing issues with poor out-of-the-box user experience, core updates, media handling etc., essentially the things where Wordpress in particular wipes the floor with us, and early noises about standardising on a specific WYSIWYG editor gave the impression that this might be the directino we were travelling in, but the reality is that it's gone the opposite way. It's harder to install; harder to learn to use. I'm sure it is better in lots of ways but as I've not yet even managed to get a stable D8 environment up and running with more than about two or three very common modules on the server where I build my D7 sites I can't say. Yes maybe that is down to me not giving up enough of my time to learn about server reconfiguration, Composer, whatever but frankly the message is very clear both from the centre and in this thread. I'm not wanted round these parts any more.

> A decision was taken somewhere that the former group were of no interest any more and the latter were where it was at. Drupal was no longer for the masses but for enterprises. Bit of a shock for many of us but hey, it's not our call

This simply isn't true. Drupal is open source, if you want to have a say get in the issue queue and contribute. What happened is, the people who actually have the skills and commitment to dedicate their time including many weekends and late nights took Drupal in that direction because it's how they used Drupal.

If everyone here who needs these additional D8 features spent their time contributing, such as towards a user interface for installing composer dependencies and modules which seems to be highly wanted, i'm sure it would be solved pretty quickly.

If everyone here who needs these additional D8 features spent their time contributing, such as towards a user interface for installing composer dependencies and modules which seems to be highly wanted, i'm sure it would be solved pretty quickly.

People are working on this! Here's some issues:

But saying that "it would be solved pretty quickly" is at best relative to how "quickly" good software can be written. The fact is that writing good software takes time!

Layout Plugin / Layout Discovery is one of the simplest modules I've ever worked on - we were convince we'd get it merged into Drupal core in 8.1.0 -- it's finally in 8.4.0, 1.5 years later than expected. :-) Look at all the brilliant people (yourself included, assuming you're that 'benjy' :-)) who have devoted tons of time over many years and Migrate in Drupal core still isn't done.

So, this is being worked on, but it's going to take time. And what are people expected to do in the meantime? (My answer is: use Drupal 7)

Hey benjy, put a smile on your face. ;-)
> maybe they'll use myDropWizard for security updates and that's the point of this post!
Do you usually think bad things first?

As you might see by the reaction to this thread, this thread shows what many people think of D8 vs D7.
Many left already to wordpress etc, many are still sticking with Drupal because they have learnt to love it.
Why should it be ok that D8 be more difficult to learn than D7? Those who managed to learn to use D7, why do you think they should leave? For me it looks like the failure is with D8 not with the people that are using it.

> people who are still building D7 today will be in panic mode
No, if so, I will just leave, silently. As many others will do and are already doing. And those leaving will make big another software. So at the moment you do not mind them leaving, but wait and see, you might change your opinion.

Love your post, it is great! You hit the spot. Just what I think. I started to and will link to it whereever it fits.

I love Drupal, have been since 10 years! Have given my share community wide as far as I could/can, since I am not a developer. I keep my fingers crossed that Drupal will last for many more years to come - as a community supported CMS - not only as a company CMS.
And yes, a while ago I decided to keep using D7 for quit a while.

I built first drupal 8 sites some weeks ago and I am thinking about going back to drupal 7. Now I understand why, because I ran into problems I cannot manage.

Please remove this reCAPTCHA thing! It is abasing ...

Hm, sorry about the reCAPTCHA - it's been the only thing we've tried recently that's been successful in preventing the SPAM. What in particular bothers you about it? It should just be a matter of checking a checkbox in 99% of cases, which is less annoying (at least to me) then typing text from an image or the like.

I don't have any problems with the captcha. It is just a cklick, not any diffcult to read letters or numbers.

I had to go through seven pictures.

Hm, that's not the usual experience. I'm really sorry for the inconvenience! When I'm away from my usual location (like at a coffee shop) or making tons of edits, it'll ask me identify pictures with signs or cars or something, but usually only 1 or 2 - I've never had it ask me to do 7!!

We've tried many different things to eliminate SPAM, starting with the least intrusive (a honeypot), but we keep having to add more defenses to prevent the deluge of SPAM that eats up time for moderation and makes it harder to find the stuff that matters amidst all the noise. I can't be so responsive to comments if the real comments are buried inbetween dozen of SPAM messages.

Really, in like 99% of cases, it's just clicking a checkbox and that's why we chose reCAPTCHA over an image CAPTCHA. If someone knows any options that are less annoying than both reCAPTCHA and image CAPTCHA, I'd be more than happy to try it!

I use and my site is spam free since then.

Only a very small amout of visitors register for just leaving a comment.

Thank you for your post, it mirrors our agency's experience. We adopted D7 very soon after its release, as it was almost universally superior to D6 in all respects. Since then, we accumulated enormous experience in D7, learning all its inner workings in depth, until feeling totally confident we can do practically anything a client may request from us.

D8 however is a different story: at its initial release, it lacked many of the essential features we required (mostly contrib modules), and also it was riddled with bugs that provided endless amounts of headaches.

It has gone a long way forward in the last two years and we're now using it for about 50% of the projects we do - but still, we only choose it for safer, smaller projects where we know we can deal with the unknown-unknowns. We still stick to D7 for the more demanding projects, where we cannot afford to deal with deal-breaking bugs or essential modules being partially ready. As we accumulate more D8 experience and the project itself matures even more, I'm sure we'll pick it for more and more new projects. But even today in Oct 2017, D7 is often the only safe choice.

Love that you are straddling two horses, one in helping get civicrm more robust for Drupal 8 (and hence helping the CiviCRM community) and second in voicing this notion that D7 has a lot of life in it still, and that overstating the wonders of Drupal 8 (yes that comment about cardboard box v house kind of sums up that attitude) isn't helping the Drupal community.

I agree with Steve's post. I have still been making Drupal 7 sites. I am one of those in the minimally resourced not-for-profits, one-woman-band group. I stayed with 7 because of my familiarity with it and because of the many modules that were available that made it possible to get up and running quickly. I know I have to change soon, though. Now, learning 8 is starting to seem less distressing than the prospect of dealing with abandoned modules that haven't been touched in years.

Totally agree with article + comments. I work full-time as a Drupal developer, and I am worried if Drupal is going to be an abandoned project. In a contrib space D7 has loads of abandoned modules, where you need 2-3 patches, which has been in RTBC-state for years, to get a working module. In D8 contrib modules are either missing or in "alpha" state.

After spending 2-5 full working days on each D8 minor version updates (breaks core or contrib functionality), I cannot justify it to be a platform for any non-enterprise solution. This is in line with Dries keynote on DrupalCon Vienna, but I wonder why all new planned features are same features that exists in low-entry competitors.

It's OK to build new sites on Drupal 7!

I've said my piece too :) Finally there's someone voicing out ! I believe many are under great pressure to push their projects to Drupal 8 in such an urgency without really knowing what lies ahead of them at the current stage. Drupal 7 is still a very awesome and stable version after using it for many years. May be Drupal should consider branching out Drupal 7, clean it up and simplify as a lightweight version for the "non-techies", cater for the small to medium, ordinary websites while Drupal 8 and after cater for heavy usage as enterprise solution since there's no one single solution for all.

Sounds like you're after which is a much better alternative in my opinion if you're wanting to continue using a technology like Drupal 7 long term.

Thanks Ben !

That's exactly what I am looking for ! Just another platform similar to Drupal 7 with powerful query builder like Views where I can continue to build web joyfully with limited building skills. Drupal 8 requires more skills to develop and to maintain, and likely more will be required in the near future as it seems moving more towards developer-focused instead of people.

I have installed and tested backdrop CMS and so delighted it's indeed a Drupal 7's fork, basically a twin but also I think it's an advanced and transformed version of D7 which included some great core modules of Drupal 8 like Views module and IMCE. Though I found there are limited modules ported to backdrop at this stage, but I believe it will attract many more "non-techies" like me to move over, as the community grow bigger, surely it will outshine one day. Thanks Ben ! I'm going over ! See you there !

Hi Ben
thanks for suggesting
> backdropscms

When I started building websites "in earnest" with CMS ten+ years ago I tested 10 different CMS (typo3, redaxo, typolight, contenido, websiteBaker etc). Well I did not really "start" then, because I already knew joomla and had used mambo before that for severall years. I was looking for sth that I liked better than joomla. I found Drupal, then still v 5, to be the one that fits me best.
After so many years with Drupal I think I will stop making websites before I change to D8 which is so different to D7. D7 was famous for two things: "there is a module for it" (i.e. for not needing to be a programmer) and for the community.

I like the suggestion of Simon:
> branching out Drupal 7, clean it up and simplify as a lightweight version for the "non-techies"

I should have probably mentioned that Backdrop is a fork of Drupal 7 before the Drupal 8 work began with many of the better parts of Drupal 8 integrated using the existing D7 API's. E.g. it's very much D7.

I dipped my toe in the Backdrop pond for an hour last night. Scarily good out of the box I must say. I had a site up and running with a modified theme and a few extra modules added all without leaving the admin section (no cutting and pasting of download links to add features.) I'd happily suggest to my non-techie Wordpress-loving friends that they give it a go, which is something I would never had said about D7 even though I love it.
Also did some reading about the history of the project, which was forked from D8 not 7, but early on before Symfony was added. My only reservation at the moment is that it seems a tiny community. Some of what I would consider to be common modules only have a couple of hundred users so I wonder how sustainable the project will be. This may well be a way forward for many of us, though it would greatly sadden me to leave the Drupal community.

> Backdrop is a fork of Drupal 7

That sounds great. I will definitively have a look at it.

Great read... and I thought I'd be the only Drupalist in the world who downgraded his own site back to D7 after struggling with getting even simple things done in the frontend. I really wanted to switch to D8 a year ago (and contribute to the community), but I spent days doing things without ANY business value to my customers. I learnt the hard way that you need a developer inhouse when creating D8 projects – and I am an one-man Drupal shop, doing a LOT of things beside working with Drupal. I WILL switch to D8 somewhere in the future, because it's a great platform, but I could also be a switch to a specific distribution with focus on websites.

Drupal 7 contrib modules are mostly abandoned.
The number of patches sitting in issue queues for years is ridiculous.

Even if Drupal 7 runs OK on PHP 7.1 today, there are quite a few contrib modules that don't and most likely won't run on anything but PHP 5.6;

In about a year from now, both PHP 5.6 and 7 will be out of official support, which means Drupal 7 and certain contrib modules are in a very tight spot.

On the other hand, Drupal 8 is dysfunctional bugzaster and the contrib is hardly there.

This > 2 years old marvel makes all 301 redirects on 8.4 to return “The website encountered an unexpected error. Please try again later.” on a premium symfony shiny white screen.


Is that what this uber-hipster, ultra-tested, over-engineered Drupal 8 wonder is all about?
Breaking peoples 301 redirects?
Geeeezywiz, we are talking something pretty basic here.

Drupal 8 was opened for development more than 6 years ago and released 2 years ago and with Drupal core 8.4 from 3 weeks ago, broke everyone's URL redirects - thousands of websites.

But wait, there is more, on it still says (ever since 2015):

“...Drupal 8 has several longstanding file usage tracking bugs. To prevent further data loss, Drupal 8.4 has disabled the automatic deletion of files with no known remaining usages. This will result of the accumulation of unused files on sites...”

So, imagine when D8 gets React in core.
Boy, I can hardly wait and it's free for everyone - we gonna have free JS bugs added to the mix of already over-bugged and free code wonder, because big enterprisey peps needs free-shiny-new-fluff...

Let's guess, adding React will need running a NodeJS on the server, besides anything else we currently rig on the stack.

If some folks can't run Node, then there is Acuios-and-co folks offering NodeJS at a cost - lets just say, it's way overpriced.
This way, at last, Acuios-and-co will be able to milk just about every other cow running free the Drupal fields.

Re: #2573807, a patch was submitted on the 17th and committed on the 18th. I suppose with some bit of effort, these things can be moved forward pretty quickly, no?

File usage tracking is actually really complex when you start diving into revisions, translations, entity reference fields etc. Click through to the issues and start reading up on the background, maybe you have something to add to the conversation? Maybe someone experienced could be sponsored to complete some work on it? These issues get a lot of exposure because data integrity is taken very seriously, which is a good thing IMO.

Nobody is stopping you from putting your hand up to help. Expecting software to have no bugs and making THAT a blocker for further innovation seems like a really bad idea.

Fair enough - I've been patching drupal ever since start using it back in 2005, despite the saying “don't code, there's module for that”, ouch!

The point about #2573807 being - nobody bothered to see if Drupal core 8.4 will break something as simple as path redirect!

Substantial amount of my own patches were refused for both contrib and core—despite adding value new features to the plate—because they didn't fit the Acios-and-co modus operandi.

“Nobody is stopping you from putting your hand up to help” sounds good and works mostly in principle - if fits the narrative.

Do you know how many people got turned away thru the years past? It's easy to be obliviously clueless!

The suggestion that Drupal is a community project, and not an Acquia-and-co project, built and maintained to serve Acquia-and-co exclusively, is beyond tragicomical already.

The cat went totally out of the bag long ago.

Result is currently observed as a very constant transition from Drupal's adoption curve to abandonment curve.

And then, there are treasures like these: - how is it, that a person like Klaus, who has been banned from Drupal, was allowed to cause such havoc...?

As this decade progresses, You will see more people moving away from Drupal and just maintaining existing rigs before migrating to other technologies.

Meanwhile, Drupal 7 installs will hang around longer than Drupal 8 as all external dependencies of the later, are already proven tricky fit and within the next 2 years things will get even more painful.

> “don't code, there's module for that”

"don't code" was never part of the slogan

> Substantial amount of my own patches were refused for both contrib and core

How is this a problem with D8 if you are building D7 sites and presumably contributing to D7 modules?

> Do you know how many people got turned away thru the years past?

I see the community as being a pretty inclusive bunch.

> The point about #2573807 being - nobody bothered to see if Drupal core 8.4 will break something as simple as path redirect!

Nobody checks if the entire framework is working *manually*, that wouldn't scale. That's what automated tests are for and now we have one for this.

> And then, there are treasures like these

Coder is a dev dependency of every D7 I've come across too. Also not sure how a dev dependency missing for a few hours is a problem with the framework? Commit your vendor folder if you're worried about these things.

I'm sorry your contributions weren't valued and the project is going in a direction you don't agree with, however half of these points are simply FUD, which doesn't help you communicate the core of (what I think) your message is.


Go install vanilla Drupal 8.4.1, add a new node and plenty of text within the body text area - notice the missing resize option for the Ckeditor text area - no auto-grow either.

How's that for FUD?

This first happened last year, was fixed and now it's back in 8.4 - Epic!
Tangentially, Webform hit that issue as well

Not professionally invested in Drupal 7 nor Drupal 8 and how should I, with so much missing/buggy/half-working bits and pieces?

Thanks for this post, it backs completely my experience as a site builder who started working with Drupal 6 8 years ago, built several Drupal 7 sites for happy clients, has several new projects for next year and is seriously considering keep using Drupal 7 as when I tried with Drupal 8 for a small project I felt very uncomfortable with composer, dependencies, upgrades, I was often thinking: this was so easy in Drupal 7, what happened now?
Building site in Drupal is just part of my work, but an important one, and I am now struggling into this situation: keep with the good of Drupal 7, even if will have problems in few years, it has abandoned modules and lacks nice new templates (really a shame); wait and test again Drupal 8 next year to see if it has lowered the bar or switch to another platform (feels scary right now, but it is what I did years ago from Wordpress to Drupal and it was a great choice a that time!).
Happy to share

The addition of React for building Drupal’s administrative UIs will further alienate the small do mid size end of Drupal.

There are similar moods around Wordpress's very own NodeJS stunt project - Gutenberg, which will supposedly be analogous to what the Paragraphs+Media is doing in Drupal but Gutenberg relies heavily on NodeJS.

It's seems like Automatic/WordPress will offer NodeJS as paid service to the Wordpress users who can not run/afford to add it to their stack.
...And Acquia just started their NodeJS-as-service offering, along with DAM - historically, a sane DAM being Drupal's weakest point - it all make sense now, a proper media support was skillfully suppressed for over 15 years in Drupal land and now it's offered as paid, external service.

The metrics page on - tells quite a lot of how things are progressed ever since 2012.
What do we see on the more visible “stats” page

October 22, 2017:
Drupal 7.x ~ 900,000
Drupal 8.x < 200,000

Close to 1 million Drupal 7 won't be updating to the experimental Drupal 8 anytime soon.
We might hazard that a solid portion of them are look at Backdrop CMS with interest as from today's perspective it doesn't seem like Drupal 8 will become more sane for mere mortals anytime soon - especially adding such tech bubble as React.

Wanna run Drupal 8?
Build the code-base locally using your cli-of-choise and Composer, tar it and upload untar and deploy on your server - the stock D8 with a fancy splash of few essential modules will easily run on a shared hosting box with just 200MB RAM.
If you can spin Varnish in front of your webserver and make it cache to disk only (it's possible) - you will be mostly happy for serving anon users.

The above applies to Drupal 7 as well - pick your favorite!

Thank you for saying this! Couldn't have said it better!!!

A piece of logic (i.e. D6/D7/PHP/any code), once written & tested is valid "forever" and will run as designed as long as the platform (OS/PHP 7.x/MySQL etc.,) support it. As long as there are no known/open security flaws, you're good to go! This is why I love the LTS D6 initiative by My Drop Wizard etc.,

As for D7 - yeah, it's got another 10 years of life ahead of it. And the modules, although no longer maintained for new features, are mature & well tested in their "limited" functionality. Which is great for developers like me who don't have to worry about some basic feature not working because I chose to work with the shiny new and super complicated "V8 engine" which is D8, when all I need is to input & output some basic data in HTML! :-D

Tell me seriously, is your business going to last 10+ years? D7 will last at least until 2025-2027 given the current scenario with how D6 is being supported. So, you can *still* build your business on D7 and upgrade to whatever is the shiny new toy 5+ years from now when you've got lots of money!

Upgrading to D8 is a great business opportunity, but only for those whose business is to build new Drupal websites. If your main business is NOT building Drupal sites, then go with D7 which has Drupal Commerce & Ubercart which are both mature and perfectly functional platforms. D8 will take at least another couple of years before all the bugs are sorted out and contrib catches up. And then, you're still left with a "V8++ engine" when all you need is to input & output some basic data in HTML! :-D

Keep the Drupal flag flying high! No matter what anyone says about Drupal 8 and the future, Drupal 6 & 7 are what made Drupal mainstream and I'm just so happy that LTS for D6 at least isn't going away until Feb 2019 and D7 support is likely to last into 2025+! Yay for Drupal!

Forgot to add - this is another reason why Backdrop is redundant! Sorry to say this, but there's no point in building on Backdrop when you've got D7 for another 10 years!!! Just use D7, lol.

Thanks for the great post! I fully agree with the content and the comments that support it.

I am a graphic and web designer, not a developer. I have 10+ years of experience with Drupal and I've done over 130 websites with Drupal 6 and 7. I have written dozens of comments in the Bulgarian Drupal community and have helped many beginners.

I have made a firm decision not to use Drupal 8!

Last but not least, the reason is that I consider Drupal 8 to be treachery to the community, to hundreds of thousands of people who have believed in Drupal and have invested years of their lifes in study of this CMS, a dishonest use of the free open source software idea for commercial purposes. I cannot support this and therefore will not go to Drupal 8.

For a year and a half I have been developing new sites primary with Backdrop CMS and I use Drupal 7 only when I need more complex modules that do not have a Backdrop version yet.

I plan to upgrade my old and new Drupal sites at a later stage to Backdrop, because if you don't know, there's an upgrade path from Drupal 7 to Backdrop.

I can not agree that Backdrop is redundant. It's not just fork of Drupal 7, it's a much more powerful successor. Lighter and faster. With native PHP7 support and full responsive design. With Views, Panels, Configuration Manager, Transliteration, Path and Redirect in core. With dozens of cleverly fabricated improvements.

The community is small but works hard and the project is evolving. There is already a beta version of Backdrop Ubercart, while Drupal 8 Ubercart is in Alfa5 and from 29 August 2016 there is no development there.

I just read your post, it has some good points but. I've been with drupal for 6 years, I did not know much of programing just to style HTML and CSS, and drupal 7 out of the box is really hard.

Until you learn how to use modules and where everything goes you lost enough time, might as well start learning programing instead. Once you get to know Drupal you realized it's really good because it lets you customize what you need making it really fast.

I would say everybody who knows drupal 7 enough should move to 8 to help improve it. I would suggest for all of those "non-techies" that never seen drupal before to start using 8 since is more out of the box. Drupal 7 is great when you got a make-up file with all modules and nice admin theme.
Unless is going to offer a bundled Drupal 7 with all the modules you need out of the box like they do for Drupal 8 a new user should not go for Drupal 7.

If a non-developer user installs a very good bundled Drupal 7, he will probably not move to 8.

Nice, Drupal 8 Ready Modules offers an excellent extension of functionality. And do check out this list for some of the most useful Drupal 8 ready modules for your website at: Thanks

Hi David,

It's been seven months since you posted this article, and though we've all been through some troubling times with both 7 and 8 (Drupalgeddon and some 8.3 -> 8.5 upgrade woes), I still love Drupal and I am not going away any time soon.

However, I am being presented with a request by a potential client for a Drupal 7 site. None of the requirements would seem to preclude doing this in D8, and in many ways (theming in particular), D8 might be more suitable.

Do you still feel the same way about starting sites with D7 as you did in October? Do you have any updates on your theories?